At 6′ 2″, actress Ava Michelle was one of the tallest girls in school, so it makes sense she would be tapped to lead Netflix’s aptly-titled Tall Girl. But slow down, viewer. You’ve seen 17-year-old Michelle before! She was on the reality series Dance Moms where she was booted for… you guessed it… her height.
Not Cut For The Team
In 2013, Michelle joined the cast of Dance Moms. Unfortunately, her time on the show didn’t go well. In season three, she was rejected from the ALDC auditions by Abby Lee Miller. “You are not what I’m looking for,” Miller told Michelle. The following season, she made her return to the ALDC, but Miller stopped her in her tracks. “Ava, you’re too tall for us today. You’re cut. Thank you. You can go,” Miller said to Michelle. The tall girl still competed with the Candy Apple’s Dance Center in season five. In 2018, she toured the country with other members of Dance Moms.
This wasn’t Michelle’s only time appearing on reality television. In 2016, she appeared on Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation. This So You Think You Can Dance? spinoff focused on kids ages eight to 13. While she impressed the judges, Michelle wasn’t picked as one of the 10 finalists.
Michelle’s Big Break
As expected, growing up so tall was filled with hardship for Michelle. “My height was really hard for me growing up. Like, I was 5-foot-10 at 13. I was really, really tall,” Michelle told Teen Vogue. “In the business that I was in, and even just being in school, I was made fun of, and it was really difficult. But ironically, I got my first huge [acting gig] partly because of the thing I hated about myself for so long.”
Fortunately, Michelle’s manager knew Tall Girl was made for her. “It’s in all caps, like, ‘Ava, you need to read this script. I need to get you in it. This is perfect.’ I’m like, ‘Okay, my manager is not like that at all,’” she also told Teen Vogue. “She normally downplays everything. So I read just the storyline of it, and my mom and I are looking at each other and we both have chills. My mom said, ‘I think this is it.’” Before Tall Girl, Michelle appeared as a model on The Bold and the Beautiful.
Lights, Camera, Action
In Tall Girl, Michelle plays high school student Jodi Kreyman. With such a tall height, Kreyman gets picked on a lot in school. Eventually, Kreyman learns to embrace who she is as a person. If that’s not enough, she gets caught in a wild love triangle. For director Nzingha Stewart, the script drove her to work on the film. “When I was the age of watching John Hughes movies, I felt like they spoke to me because they were so honest and allowed kids to have this real feel of vulnerability. I wanted to make that movie for this generation.,” she told xoNecole. Tall Girl is Stewart’s first feature film in her career. She recently directed episodes of Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, and Good Girls.
Like any actor, seeing your first big movie get released brings a wave of emotions. “I have never met so many talented but also just the most incredible people in my life, then the ones who are a part of this film. Not only does this story hit so close to home, but it has such an impactful message of self love and self acceptance that all of us need,” Michelle said on Instagram. “So honored to be able to tell a story that is bringing awareness to what us tall girls go through, but mainly showing us that we all have insecurities and the best way to deal with them is learning to love ourselves.”
With so much love towards her, it won’t be long until Michelle grabs another huge role. Tall Girl is out right now on Netflix.
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